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Three-day sickness hits cattle

This young heifer was laid low by three day sickness but is now happily grazing her way back to full health.
This young heifer was laid low by three day sickness but is now happily grazing her way back to full health.

BOVINE empheral fever or ‘three-day sickness’ is sweeping the region creating big headaches for cattle and their owners.

Spread by mosquitoes and biting midges and driven south by rain and northerly winds, the virus literally knocks cattle off their feet, laying them low with flu-like symptoms along with lameness and muscular stiffness.

Most animals recover within a couple of days but as some animals may injure themselves by struggling to get to their feet, it is important to reduce stress levels and provide them with shade and water.

Treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs also helps but experts say suspect animals should not be drenched because paralysis of the throat muscles may allow fluids to pass down the windpipe into the lungs, causing pneumonia.

A vaccine is available but is not recommended for calves under six months of age.



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